I've never read anything from Orson Scott Card before, but decided to give this book a chance. It was different, combining a thriller with sci-fi and fantasy. There are two separate stories intertwined between our world and a lost world of gods. Both stories were very interesting, and I assume they will wrapped into one story as the series progresses.
The main character of the book is a very likable boy who learns that he has magic powers, and spends much of this book learning how to use them. Other characters in the book are likable as well. Overall this was a very good start to this series.
So, I get this email from Audible telling me that they are offering a free download from one of my favorite authors Brandon Sanderson. The book is Legion: Skin Deep. Liking anything free, I downloaded the book. However, I figured before reading that book, I should listen to the first book in the series Legion, which is not free. Figuring two books for the price of one was still a good deal, I used a credit on this book.
I'm not still sure if I got such a good deal. I'm a huge fan of Sanderson, but unfortunately I really didn't care much for this book. It's only two hours long, but I grew bored of the constant chattering in the lead character's head fairly quickly, and even fell asleep listening once. Not good for such a short book. Also, about three quarters of the way through the book, there is literally a bomb that goes off at a weird point, and the book is rushed to a quick end.
Don't get me wrong. This book isn't horrible. But at 2 hours, I'm not sure it was interesting enough to waste a credit. Not sure if I will ever listen to the book I got for free.
The thing I love about epic fantasy books is the way they take you away to a world where fantastic things can occur. A good fantasy book can relieve you of your everyday problems as you follow the path of the hero as he or she takes up a quest to save the world.
The Emperor’s Blades follow’s the path of three heroes, siblings born to an emperor who has himself been murdered. As with most epic fantasy books, there are some standard cliches within this one. The child who is trained for future greatness, the finding of powers he didn’t know he possessed, the doubts of skill and strength to be who he is supposed to be, and the struggles to survive those who would kill you before you become who you are meant to be. Some may find fault in books which follow a certain pattern, but I think what makes fantasy great is the blending of what came before with new twists and plots. In what other genre do you get to follow the complete life of your favorite characters? Watch them grow and learn how they become who they are?
I found Emperor’s Blades to be interesting, and enjoyed the weaving of three separate stories into one. The world had both a traditional iron age European feel, with also elements of Asian culture. The trials of two of the siblings were fascinating and at times nail biting. The overall plot of the story seems obvious, find who killed the emperor and restore one of the siblings to the throne, however this book is mostly a setting to the larger story to come, as the siblings are currently all in different parts of the world training. I feel the plot will broaden as the series moves on. If I had any problems with the book, it would be that I would have liked to spent more time with the third sibling Adare, the sister of the two main characters.
Overall, I feel this is a solid first book to a series. I enjoyed watching the characters grow, and look forward to their future quests. The narration was solid.
I thought it was a little strange when I saw a prequel pop up on audible to a series that only had one book out. I had just finished Circle Of Reign and thought it was a very good book, so I decided to give this a shot. I am extremely happy I did so.
While reading the first book, I was starting to think that Mr. Cooper had the potential to become one of the better fantasy writers out there. I wasn't completely sold, as the narration from Michael Kramer may have influenced my opinion. After listening to Altar Of Influence, I believe Jacob Cooper is a rising star.
Altar Of Influence was every bit as exciting as the first book. Even though you know some of the outcome before you listen, it does not hinder the enjoyment of this story. While most will read this after Circle Of Reign, I don't think it is necessary. In fact, if you are wanting to check out Mr. Cooper's work without committing to a full series, I think this book could be listened to as a stand alone since most of the plots in this tale are wrapped up at the end.
I highly recommend this book. I am anxiously awaiting the next one in the series, and think I will be enjoying many Jacob Cooper books in the future.
When I started the Divergent series, I had never heard of the author, and the book had yet to take off or become a movie. I found the first book very entertaining as I learned of the world of a future Chicago with factions. The series has since become huge, and after listening to this book, I can understand why many are disappointed by the ending. I myself had doubts about this book after enjoying the second book Insurgent less than the first. I have to say though, I found Allegiant to much more enjoyable than the second book.
Allegiant started off a little slow, but once it got going, the storyline and action kept me interested until the end. You find out the origins of the city and it's factions, and also find out that life outside the city walls are not so perfect either. There was less of the teen romance fluff in this volume that slowed down the Insurgent book, though there is still some of that here.
If there was one thing that I would complain about in this book, it would not be the ending, it would be the added perspective of Tobias. While his addition would have been worthwhile if kept to a minimum, to go from the single perspective of Triss to having Tobias take up half the book was strange. The biggest issue for me was that I had a certain view of Tobias as seen through the eyes of Triss, and his personality seemed off when spoken in his own words. I think Ms. Roth failed a bit when writing Tobias' parts, as he seemed to think like a girl instead of a man. Some of his musings about Triss were a little too feminine.
Overall though, I enjoyed this book, including the ending. We will not be given never ending sequels, the story is complete. I'm ok with that. The narration by Emma Galvin was very good as always, and the addition of Aaron Stanford was a little sterile, but ok.
Our heroes David and the Reckoners fight off a former guitarist from a hair metal band who can split into many copies of himself. A quick and fun story, and you beat free.
When starting a new book, especially the first in a series from an author you haven't read before, there is always that getting comfortable period at the beginning. This is especially true with an audiobook. Are you investing time in a book that you won't want to continue the series? What's going on, and who's who? Do I like the narrator, and the way he reads the book?
Fortunately with Circle Of Reign, I seemed to quickly feel comfortable with this book. The story of Reign, a young girl who witnesses tragedy at an early age, and who along with her brother grow to fight the forces trying to wipe out her people, was both exciting and endearing. And while this may sound like yet another coming of age story, the setting and world was unique and the characters interesting and likable.
The narration by Mr. Kramer was perfect as always, and also helped with me quickly get into a comfort level with the story. Overall a very good first book. Looking forward to the next one.
The Slow Regard Of Silent Things is the story of Ari, or is supposed to be anyway. It is more like seven days in the live of Ari. Reading some of the reviews posted here, it seems most people either love or hate this story. It's either a wonderful tale of the beloved girl from the Kingkiller Chronicle, or a boring tale that has no action or ties to the original story. I found it to be close to what I expected, but lacking for the complete story I was hoping for.
I went in to this book knowing that it was a short story based Ari, and had hoped it would shed some light as to why she had become the scared girl hiding under the university. Unfortunately, we are given mostly a week of Ari carrying on with her daily rituals of life for a weeks time. I have to say, for about three quarters of the book I enjoyed learning about Ari and her unfortunate struggle with her mental health. She is an endearing character, and you can't help but feel for her. After a while though, you realize that the mysteries of how she became in such a state will not be revealed here.
As for the narration, I don't think I have yet enjoyed a book read by the author. It was almost reason for me to skip this book entirely. After listening, I think Patrick did an ok job with this, and you could tell he was enthusiastic about the reading, however I couldn't help but feeling throughout the book how much better it would have been if a female reader would have been used. This would have given Ari more life.
Overall, at only three hours, I feel this book is worth a listen, and am glad I purchased it.
Wanting a break from my usual listening fare, I decided to give City of Stairs a listen. The book is described as a fantasy, but it is definitely not your typical story of Kings and Knights set in a world of Elves and Ogres. City of Stairs is set in a world with magic and wonders, but also some modern conveniences.
This book would seem to have all you need for a fantastic journey, starting with a very good performance by Alma Cuervo as the narrator, who's voice seemed perfect for the main character Sharra. The premise of the story is good as well. In a city built by gods, Sharra is a secret agent who has come to investigate the murder of a top government employee by the long suppressed people of the city. The gods have been killed by a long since dead relative of Sharra herself, and their country has been occupied ever since.
I liked the premise of this story right from the beginning, however quickly found out that there are some issues with this book as well. To start, the first half of the book starts to bog down as there is nothing really happening other than long sequences of info dumps. Characters seem to sit around and tell the story of how the city came into being rather than the story naturally laying out what had happened as the story progresses. In one example, Sharra is confronted by a city leader over her questioning of a citizen of the city. She reluctantly lets the citizen leave, and then is so angry that she invites everyone around her to the kitchen where she cooks a meal for them and proceeds to tell the entire history of every god, including what their beliefs are, their relationship with the other gods, and how they died. All interesting stuff, but the scenario made no sense, and the telling drug out miserably.
Other issues were the setting itself. I was intrigued by the setting initially as fantasy type books usually don't include such things as cars, trains, and guns. The odd thing though is that even though Sharra arrives and departs on a train, then rides in a car to the embassy, and speaks about the use of guns hundreds of years before, none of these things are featured much in the story. Cars are available, but everyone walks everywhere. Guns are available, yet everyone uses swords, knives, and cross bolts. Trains and cars have been invented, but modern conveniences like lights, plumbing, or phones have not. It's a little confusing.
Overall, despite the slow start, once the story gets going and the action picks up, I did find myself enjoying this book. The characters were mostly likable, and that carries a story with some holes in it.
Preferring to get the most out of my money for the credits I am allowed each month, I have never used one of them on a story this short before. However, being a big fan of Mr. Sanderson, and seeing many good reviews for this book, I decided to make an exception this one time.
I think after listening this book is worth the credit I used on it. It is a very short story, but typical with Sanderson's books, I found myself quickly absorbed in this story about a girl who is kidnapped and then ordered to use illegal magic to remake the soul of the Emperor. Angela Lin's narration was perfect for this story, bringing out the personality of the characters.
If there is any downside to this tale it would be that it leaves you wanting so much more. I hope Mr. Sanderson comes back to this story again in the future.
After listening to Blood Song, I felt it was one of the best books I had listened to all year, if not one of the best I have listened to period. I was very excited for the release of Tower Lord, and pre-ordered it. However, before I could listen to it, I started to see reviews panning the book for it's change from a first person point of view used in the first book to a multiple person point of view. Since I loved the format of the first book, and after reading the bad reviews of the second, I started off my listen of Tower Lord with a negative impression before even getting started.
After finishing the book, I'm happy to say my doubts were all for nothing. I found myself enjoying this book from the get go, and never looked back. I found the new POV's storylines to be just as interesting and exciting as the storyline of Vaelin. Of the three new characters, only Riva is a new addition to the story, and her part intertwines with Vaelin’s for much of the book. The others are Princess Lerner, who finds herself maturing into a leader a she travels as an ambassador to foreign lands, and Frintis, Vaelin’s friend and comrade from The Order whom is thought to be dead. Of the three, I found myself most enjoying Frintis’ storyline. Thought killed in the war, Frintis is instead taken as a slave and turned into an assassin by a mysterious woman with magical powers. The other character’s stories were also very interesting, as well as Vaelin’s part in the book, which in my opinion doesn’t suffer at all with the new additions.
Overall, though initially having doubts, I found this book every bit as much as enjoyable as Blood Song. I never would have believed it prior to listening, but I think Mr. Ryan made the right call by opening up the book to more characters. While the single POV format of the first book was perfect for that part of the story, multiple POVs will undoubtably expand this story into something much bigger. The narration by Steven Brand was spot on once again. Excellent series so far.
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